What is a Client Side Project Manager? Everything You Need To Know



Quiz – Do I need a Project Manager?

Proposal Creation Tool

If you want our team to manage your project for you, click below.

In the realm of construction and development, every successful project represents a nexus of planning, design, and execution. Behind this intricate process stands a key figure: the Client-Side Project Manager. This role is critical in bridging the gap between a client’s vision and the practical realities of construction, ensuring that projects meet specifications, budgets, and timelines. If you’re keen to understand the ins and outs of this vital position, including the responsibilities, skills required, and its impact on the success of construction projects, this guide offers a comprehensive overview.  

In this article, we delve into what makes a client-side project manager indispensable in the construction industry and how they navigate the complex landscape of building and development to deliver results. 

Understanding the Role of A Client Side Project Manager

Much like having a lawyer, the Client-Side Project Manager is your representative, who may not be an expert in every specialisation, but they know the right people to approach, engage and knows how to get where you need to go. Acting a liaison between the client and various stakeholders involved in the project including architects, engineers, contractors, suppliers and authorities, the primary objective of a Client-Side Project Manager is to ensure that the project is completed successfully. 

 Note: A Client Side Project Manager is different to a Contractor’s Project Manager, which is a role in the Contractor / Builders company. While they may work towards similar goals as their Client Side counterpart, their obligation is ultimately to the Builder as their employer. 

Client-Side Project Managers act like Real Estate Buyer’s Agents, aiming for the best possible purchase for the buyer while Seller’s Real Estate Agents, similar to Contractor’s Project Managers, focus on the seller’s interests. In construction, both types of project managers aim for successful project completion, each prioritising the interests of different parties. 

Responsibilities of a Client Side Project Manager

Having a Client Side Project Manager on your corner is vital for aligning project phases, emphasising active leadership for smooth, successful project completion. 

 Here are some of the key responsibilities of a Client Side Project Manager: 

Project Planning

The Client Side Project Manager is involved in the initial planning stages, working closely with the client to establish project goals, initial design concepts, budgetary constraints, and timelines. They create a comprehensive project plan, detailing the scope of work, required resources, and project milestones.

Budget Management

The Client Side Project manager will monitor the project budget, ensuring that all expenses are accounted for and align with the client’s financial capabilities and limitations, matches the cashflow forecast, and there’s an adequate contingency in within the budget for unforeseen costs later in the project lifecycle (this is usually between 5-15% depending on the type of project).

Risk Management and Regulatory Compliance

 Client Side Project Managers conduct continuous risk assessments with the ultimate purpose of minimising client exposure. They consider various factors such as site safety, verifying that best practice building procedures are followed, regulatory compliance, environmental impacts and more.

Contract Administration

Once a contract has been negotiated and signed, a Client-Side Project Manager will often take on the role of “Superintendent” which is the party responsible for administering the Contract. The Superintendent is obligated to be an unbiased arbiter of the Contract to ensure that both parties fulfill their obligations. This will usually include assessing Variations, Extensions of Time (EOT’s), Change Orders and more.

Stakeholder Management

Communication is a critical pillar of an effective manager. A Project Manager acts a key conduit between the Client, Contractors, Consultants and Stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is well-informed and aligned with project objectives. This will be facilitated through status updates, photo reports, meetings and often a robust construction software (for example, we use Procore).

Quality Control and Inspection

A Client-Side Project Manager will conduct regular inspections and implement quality control measures to maintain the desired level of quality throughout the project. The objective is to detect and rectify potential defects swiftly, prioritising prevention over correction through continuous improvement and monitoring rather than fixing mistakes later. To quote David Chandler, the NSW Building Commissioner, “it will always be many times cheaper to do it right the first time” which will be the modus operandi of a diligent Project Manager who attends the site regularly to monitor quality.

Change Management

They often say that ‘change is the only constant’ and this is especially true for construction. When change comes around, planned or unplanned, it is critical to control and document it properly, before it becomes a cost-carrying risk to the project. A Client-Side Project Manager will assess the impacts of proposed changes, negotiate with relevant parties, and document the execution of approved changes in line with the Contract obligations – this documentation is called a Change Order.

Project Documentation

A Client Side Project Manager will maintain comprehensive records of the full project for you, such as planning documentation, financial data, plans, and any project-related correspondence. 

Engaging a Project Manager is like hiring a seasoned captain for your ship. Here are some key attributes that we recommend you look for, when choosing who should take the wheel of your project: 

Great Communicators and Fast Problem Solvers 
At its core, a Project Manager is a problem solver – they remove obstacles to facilitate other experts (tradesmen, consultants) to do what they do best. So, it’s critical to find someone who will efficiently communicate challenges, and then facilitate solutions to overcome them in a timely manner. When looking for a Project Manager who meets this criteria – look for someone who is succinct, personable, and focussed on the solution, not complaining about the problem(s).  

Tech-savvy and tech-focused 
The construction industry is historically slow to innovate, but using the latest technologies ensures that your project stays efficient and follows construction best practices. This technological efficiency pays significant dividends to owners through lower costs, less rework, higher quality, lower risk and overall better outcomes. We highly recommend looking for a partner who can demonstrate leading edge technological capabilities. 

Fast, efficient, and reliable 
A proficient Client-Side Project Manager understands the value of time and will manage theirs appropriately. While they do juggle the demands of being on site and in offices, you should look for someone who you can contact and receive a quick response – even if that response is a simple acknowledgement.  

Explore The Power Of Project Management Services In Construction

Working with a Client-Side Project Manager goes beyond being just a strategic investment. Rather, he or she acts as an ally to guide you through each phase of the project, and helping save you time and money through valuable insights, experience and skills. 

Need help with a current or upcoming construction project? We offer tailored Project Management solutions – from basic supervision to full Client-Side Project Management – we can provide services for a variety of projects including residential, commercial, retail, developments and more. Contact us or request for a proposal on our website to get started. 

Get started in 3 easy steps.


Submit a Request Online in 5 minutes.


Receive a Proposal in 48 hours or less.


Start whenever you are ready.

*depending on the requirements of your project, we may need to visit site or request additional information before your proposal is issued.

Add Your Heading Te